El Anatsui

born 1944

El Anatsui, ‘Ink Splash II’ 2012
Ink Splash II 2012
© El Anatsui
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Biography

El Anatsui [ah-nah-ch-wee] (born 1944) is a Ghanaian sculptor active for much of his career in Nigeria. The youngest of 32 children, El Anatsui lost his mother and was raised by his uncle. He looked for "something that had more relationship to me, as someone growing up in an African country". El Anatsui wanted to "draw connections between consumption, waste, and the environment". As he would say, "Art grows out of each particular situation, and I believe that artists are better off working with whatever their environment throws up". He has drawn particular international attention for his "bottle-top installations". These installations consist of thousands of aluminum pieces sourced from alcohol recycling stations and sewn together with copper wire, which are then transformed into metallic cloth-like wall sculptures. Such materials, while seemingly stiff and sturdy, are actually free and flexible, which often helps with manipulation when installing his sculptures.

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